THE PARAPLEGIC IN A 4ft. 6in. WIDE ROOM
MY first reaction to recent proofs of the generosity of CATHOLIC HERALD readers is a determination not to impose any further on their kindness. But this week I have come across a case of hardship which, as far as I can see, cannot be helped except through real charity. I have left it to the person most involved to tell her story in her own words. At my request, she has written it out. It reads :
"Last December I married Mr. R.—C. — an employee of the Ministry of Labour.
"He is a registered blind person, who also suffers with spastic paraplegia. Each winter during the four years I have known him, he has been ill and has also been in St. George's Hospital, the Royal Free and for three months early this year in University College Hospital at St. Pancras.
"My husband is accommodated in an L.C.C. Hostel in Holborn (52 Mount Pleasant, W.C.I) and his NV: room (No. 28) is 4 ft. 6 ins. wide — exceedingly inconvenient for a person who uses crutches, also when he is not well, as at present (with a touch of food poisoning or perhaps a chill) he cannot be looked after properly. At such times when it is necessary for him to get up in the night, he sleeps with his feet hanging over the edge of the bed and his surgical boots on all night — (he cannot stand without these and crutches). "The wash-room is down a flight of stairs and in order to save a lot of time and avoid getting in the way of hurrying able-bodied men, he washes in a howl of water which someone very kindly brings to him. But, sometimes the pal forgets, and the same water lasts two days! He will remain unshaven rather than impose!"
THE letter continues : "My single bed-sitter is in Wimbledon and to be together for two nights we travel by mini-cabs Friday evening — Sunday (app. £1 Is, each way). "My husband's name has been on the housing list since 1954. There have been at least two medical applications on my husband's behalf for a flat in his area (he works in Medina Road, Holloway).
"Knowing his personal difficulties and his courage (as perhaps I know better than anyone else), I must say that I am astonished that his case has been refused priority! "I have advertised, I have searched and made enquiries for suitable accommodation for us, but travelling about is expensive and I have little spare time as I work all day. "Perhaps this will help to give some idea of our circumstances. I am proud to be his wife but frustrated in my efforts to help keep him in better health and cared for, as he deserves."
I have the lady's name and address: I have also checked the facts with her visiting priest. a Jesuit who strongly supports this appeal to the charity of anyone in a position to help.
SEVERAL readers have sent helpful answers to my recent appeal on behalf of the Lincolnshire parish priest who is anxious to obtain some Greek Rite music. Some have written in to tell "Fr. X" where he can buy the necessary books, and one has offered to lend him gramephone records.
The letters have been forwarded UI Lincolnsnire, but in case other readers are interested, the following list should help, The Syllitoureikon. from L'Ottice General du Livrc, 14 his, Rue lean Ferrandi, Paris 6, and the Petit Syllourgikon, obtainable from the Melkite Church, at 1, Rue St. Julien-le-Pauvre Paris 5, both contain this kind of music. Another selection in Greek and in French may be had from iconographic, Chevetogne, Belgium. For those who would like to range further afield, and explore the Holy Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom according to the Russian usage, Desclee and Cornpany, whose offices are at 38, Bdc. Raspail, Paris 6, can provide a published version.
Edward Chesterton of Wembley, who writes to tell me about this, adds: 'The music is simple but very beautiful. I have heard it several times, and once at the Ukrainian Church in Saffron Hill. where it was sung by all the congregation. It was a really wonderful experience of playing an active part in the Divine Liturgy."
CHRISTMAS is in the air — literally, this time. Yesterday was switch-on day for the Regent Street illuminations which arc, as far as I can discover, the only ones in London and. possibly in any large British city to have a religious theme.
This year. the Regent Street Trader's Association has produced 15 large panels, each representing the Three Wise Men. They are not the usual kind of decorations which have strings of electric light bulbs attached to metal frames, hut take the form of twin panels made up of hundreds of pieces of coloured glass. Between each pair of panels there is a powerful electric light, so that the passer-by gets the impression of looking through a stained glass window.
"The telephone has been ringing non-stop here this week" a spokes man for the Association told me. "Lots of people have expressed an incredible interest in these decorations ever since the workmen started to put them up. We have tried to produce something that would be beautiful and not garish — after all, it is Christmas."
God and Mammon
ANOTHEK approach to Christmas is provided in the most recent issue of The Queen, where the publishers have divided the magazine into two sections, one representing the spiritual side of Christmas. the other the materialistic. Copying the "Daily Mirror" "two front pages", they have two different covers. and to read the Mammon section, you turn the magazine upside down and start at the back.
Contributions in both sections are very much to the point. The first section includes an illustration of the opening of Vatican 11, and the headline that " Materialism is not enough", as well as a short and unbiased article on the prospects for Christian Unity. There is also a "Christmas Carol" by the Jesuit poet, Peter Levi.
On the Mammon side, features on the compulsive spending and party games (in some of which genuine cheques are made into paper darts) poke a wry finger at the mad scramble of current materialism. and there is a harrowing story by Dom Mollies about the fate of Father Christmas. The one unexplained note is struck by an advertisement of Sir Laurence Olivier reading from the New Testament. This appears in the "Mammon" section.
Manuscript in search of an author
WILL the author of the unsigned MS posted during the week from Wickford, In Essex, please get in touch with the Editor's Secretary. No covering letter was included, and the manuscripts may have to languish in a sort of journalistic limbo until the author makes himself known.